It is becoming increasingly recognised that diagnostic error is an important research priority, indeed it has been described as the next frontier for patient safety.

Dr Clare Goyder

A recent project focusing on diagnostic error in primary care has won the best abstract prize for the South West Society for Academic Primary Care Conference in March 2014 and will be presented at the plenary session.

Our presentation will include a summary of the previous work in our department that has examined the clinical reasoning process in primary care. We will begin by describing the diagnostic strategies used by GPs in routine consultations. We then introduce a model developed by the late John Balla to integrate the process of diagnosis in primary care onto the framework of the Dual Theory of Cognition as developed by Daniel Kahneman  and describe 3 qualitative projects that have allowed this model to be refined and tested in different settings.

Our recent project is a secondary analysis of qualitative data which was conducted using 2 existing data sets. In total, 36 interviews were coded and analysed thematically, with the aim to identify what advice experienced GPs can offer junior trainees to reduce diagnostic error and we will discuss our findings in relation to the literature.

This work is dedicated to John Balla (1934 - 2013), it was his energy and intellect that has driven this research. The idea for this recent project was his and he conducted all the original interviews.